Long Distance Listening !
you've ever wondered what those strange, far away stations were
that you've heard on the AM band, you are NOT alone! I've been
listening to them for years and have decided to document my
"finds". There are many secrets to the art of listening
to long distance stations and below is the result of my decision
to lay it all out for the entire world to "see"!
art of reception for stations outside of your 'local' area.
Receiving far away stations on the AM (or Medium Wave) band
from 530 to 1710 kHz.
the Wonderful World of AM DXing without spending a dime, dedicating
hours and hours to education and studying or putting some
part of your life on hold -- and yes, it's FREE!
take the time to read this entire letter.
You WILL learn something new!
Radio Fan (and those about to be)!
I have been a life long listener of AM, FM,
Shortwave and VHF/UHF communications. I am also an FCC licensed
Extra Class Amateur Radio operator and hold a General Class
(formally First Class) Radiotelephone License. I've talked with
stations around the world and have heard many, many more. With
all of the changes in technology and communications that have
taken place in the past 10 years (digital radio, satellite radio,
MP3 players, the "retiring" of Morse code, the Internet,
WiFi, etc, etc), some would consider the art of listening to
the AM band a very much "lost" art and not worth the
time. Of course they would be right, except for the one thing
that technology will NEVER be able to take away and that's the
ability of a radio signal to travel wherever it wants to go.
Just like a gas fills its container and water always seeks its
level, a radio wave will travel EVERYWHERE and ANYWHERE it wants
and YOU TOO can listen to these seasoned travelers of the sky!
Simply put, you can use your inexpensive AM
radio, the one you got many years ago for a few dollars, to
pick up signals from many hundreds and thousands of miles away
and hear stations you never thought existed! There is a wealth
of information out there. Yes, there is the Internet and the
ability to get the answers to just about anything at the click
of a mouse or the push of a button. BUT.... keep in mind that
the SPOKEN word, to this day and dare I say for many, many days
ahead, still carries tremendous weight and power to convey information
in a way that the Internet cannot and may not be able to for
many years to come. Witness the explosive growth of the iPod
and the podcast. Who even heard of the word "podcast"
a few years ago? The iPod is a great entertainment device for
music and video, but it also holds the key to information and
education that wasn't available a few years ago via the podcast
and the spoken word.
Yes, I know. Amazing! But it's true and VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS!
Here is a virtually unlimited resource that
can provide you with information, commentary, opinion, emotion,
music, health and safety advice, news, current events and the
list goes on and on. What we have here is the ORIGINAL Information Superhighway
rolled into one little inexpensive piece of electronics that
most likely can run on one 9 volt or AA battery! INCREDIBLE!
Keep reading for more on that.
But before I go on, there's just so much bad
information out there that I think it's time to put some of
these myths to rest first:
Myth #1 - Nobody really
listens to AM radio anymore, right? Wrong! Some people don't
listen to AM radio (or any radio for that matter), but it's
been that way since the beginning of broadcasting. The fact
is that more and more people turn to AM radio for those pieces
of information that are either very difficult or impossible
to get anywhere else. Looking for a Wi-Fi hot spot so you could
get on the Internet and check the weather and local traffic
and can't find one? Turn on the radio, tune to the local news
station on AM and there it is!
Myth #2 - AM, FM. Same thing! Uh...
NO! Not only are the letters different (D'uh!), but the frequencies
they use are MUCH different. "AM" stands for Amplitude
Modulation and "FM" for Frequency Modulation. The
type of modulation (impressing sounds on a signal so that
its information can be transmitted to a radio listener) is
not important except to note that FM usually requires a lot
more "bandwidth" (similar to the "bandwidth"
used on the Internet) and the FM band has a lot more room
in it than the AM band. What IS important is that Mother Nature
handles the AM band frequencies (530 kHz to 1710 kHz) very
differently than the FM band frequencies (87.7 MHz to 107.9
MHz). While there are plenty of opportunities to do FM DXing
if you know where and when to "look" for them, AM
DXing takes full advantage of Mother Nature's ability to bounce
radio signals broadcasting in the AM band to far off places!
Myth #3 - Nothing good is on the
radio anymore. It's the same old garbage! No way! "New
and different" happens on radio every single day if you'd
just take a listen and especially if you listen for those
stations "out there", beyond your local area. That's
where the real education in what's going on in America happens!
Myth #4 - The Internet has EVERYTHING
I could ever want and need. Ahem. I don't think so! I
love to listen to a particular Canadian station that I can
get in my area after the local station on that frequency signs
off for the evening (they are only a "daytime" broadcaster
- just another example of what you can find out there) and
it would drive my wife crazy that I do this all the time while
we're in the car together. Not so anymore. One night, we heard
an advertisement for an odor elimination product that she
had never heard about before. Curious, we both did a little
research and discovered that it is EXACTLY what she's been
looking for to eliminate a certain odor in our home. She found
out where to purchase it in our area and now... PROBLEM SOLVED!
Myth #5 - I can't do this!
ANYONE can do this! If you are ANYONE, then you can. There
is NO EXCUSE! All you need to do is turn on the power to your
AM radio, adjust the volume and tune away. You can do this
even if you're in a car, so NO EXCUSES!
How Exactly Do I Do This "DXing" Thing?
As an experienced radio enthusiast for over
40 years, I've got a good "feel" for DXing and can
hear things among the noise and static that most people can't.
What you will find, with a little practice, is that you can
also find those stations that are far away or, as we call it
in radio slang, "deep in the mud". At first, you'll
hear just the noise and static that you would have normally
heard without the knowledge that you are gaining by reading
this letter. However, after a few tries, you will begin to hear
music, voices and actual people talking!
Now that we've got you on the golden path to
discovery, allow me to unveil AM DXing's "8 Step Program"
that will get you on track and keep you there as you explore
this brave, new world of long distance listening.
STEP #1 - The better the AM
radio, the better your chances of finding a good "DX"
catch! In order of importance, the best situation would be
a portable radio outside, next is a portable radio inside
near a window, next is a portable radio anywhere, followed
by a fixed radio near a window and finally a fixed radio anywhere
you can find it. The ultimate would be a great radio in a
vehicle where you can move it to the best location!
STEP #2 - Make note of the
more powerful and local stations in your area. Also note where
there seems to be the biggest "gaps" between these
strong stations. This is where you can find radio "GOLD"
on the AM dial! One piece of paper and a pencil to "lay
out" your local radio dial will rival the most powerful
and sophisticated computers on the Internet for this type
STEP #3 - Tune your radio into
those "gaps" and start listening. For example, if
you have a strong station on 770 and another one on 820, you
should start listening for stations at 790 and 800. Why those
two only? Because in most radio designs (except the most expensive
radio sets), you need to leave a cushion of 10 kHz on either
side of a strong station because the chances of hearing anything
there is very, very remote. So, for 770, 760 and 780 would
be off the list to give it that 10 kHz "cushion"
on both sides. However, depending on how strong that station
is on 770, you may still be able to pick up stations next
to it, so don't discount those frequencies right away. Check
STEP #4 - Don't forget the
most important frequencies for night time listening - the
GRAVEYARD frequencies. Sounds downright GHOULISH, doesn't
it? Let me explain. There are 6 frequencies on the upper part
of the AM band dedicated to low power stations. Many stations
go to a lower power setting after sunset to prevent their
stronger radio signals from interfering with other stations
on the same frequency. The "graveyard" frequencies
are LOCAL channel frequencies used by these stations. On the
AM dial, they are 1230, 1240, 1340, 1400, 1450 and 1490 kHz.
These are the "officially" listed frequencies, but
my research shows that there are many more in that range and
above. One way to detect this: If you have NO local stations
on a given frequency and can hear what sounds like a zillion
people talking at once and maybe sounding like a low rumble,
you are most likely on a "graveyard" frequency.
STEP #5 - Record what you find!
This is probably the MOST IMPORTANT STEP! Don't think your
memory will last that long that you'll remember all of the
stations you found. Use a pad and pencil, laptop, digital
recorder, tape recorder (why not?) or any other recording
device you find useful. If you can, actually record what you
are hearing as well. I try to do that whenever I can using
a portable digital recorder. It doesn't give you high fidelity
by any means, but you will have a recording that you can replay
and possibly extract more of what you missed the first time
you heard it. This is especially important when the station
is identifying itself. Hard to remember where you heard it
if you don't know what station it was!
STEP #6 - DO NOT subject
family and friends to this new "hobby" of yours
UNTIL you get good at it. Most people, until they are trained,
will only hear noise and static and, trust me, YOU WILL GET
GRIEF FOR IT! You must wean them into this S L O W L Y.......
STEP #7 - DO tell all
your family and friends to go to AMDXING.COM! All you
need to do is fill in their email address after you click
on this LONG
DISTANCE RECEPTION LINK. Then click SEND and away
STEP #8 - Email me by clicking
the link below. Questions, comments and feedback are most
ORIGINAL Information Superhighway!
As I mentioned earlier in this letter, that
little, portable transistor radio that so many of us carried
around listening to music and talk, was actually the very FIRST
Wi-Fi device ever invented! Today, we take very much for granted
the fact that computers now can be wireLESS. But, over one hundred
years ago, wireless was very common, not only in this country,
but all over the world. This is a textbook, classic example
of the phrase, "What's old is new again". Radio, from
the very beginning, paved the Information Superhighway and set
the foundation for the concept of "wireless", both
then and now. Remember, that fancy wireless router you bought
to hook up your laptops and other wireless devices to the Internet,
is nothing more than a RADIO TRANSMITTER and RECEIVER. By any
standard, you're looking at 19th Century technology being used
to access a late 20th Century creation. AMAZING!
This is why, as I said at the beginning, that
this is a virtually unlimited resource without precedent. Nowhere
else can you get access to SO MUCH with something as easily
available as a portable radio that, in many cases, runs on ONE
battery and a long time on that battery to boot (no computer
This is truly "The ORIGINAL Information
Superhighway", the one that was created over a century
ago for the masses and is still in use today. Fads may come
and go, technology and new gadgets spring into being and then
fade away, but RADIO will be here for the next 100 years and
And on that note, I wish
GOOD LISTENING and GOOD DXING!
DXING - Long Distance Listening !
What you have
just read is an opportunity, a golden opportunity,
to use this unique information to better your
life, make you more attractive to others, train
your brain to "hear" what others say
isn't there, grow larger plants, keep your house
clean and have a better relationship with your
family and friends. What more can you ask when
you're presented with a unique learning experience
such as this one? I ask you, what more can you
ask? Ah, yes. I hear you out there thinking
and trying to understand it all. Allow me to
suggest a starting point, my friend.
Turn on the radio and LISTEN......
The statements and examples on this website are not intended
to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the
same results. Each individual's success will be determined
by his or her desire, dedication, equipment used, time spent,
geographic location, what kind of stations you are looking
for and a bit of luck thrown in for good measure. There
is no guarantee that you will be able to duplicate the results
stated here, but there is a very good chance you just might
enjoy yourself, learn something new and annoy certain individuals
in the process.
THAT worth it? 🙂
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